The Abruzzo and Alps regions have been issued with an avalanche alert
The Italian Government has given a 'high' alert warning for the Abruzzo Apennines region in central Italy.
The level is also at a ‘medium-high’ risk across the Alps which borders France, Switzerland and Austria.
Thousands of Britons head to the Alps every week during the ski season, and are now being reminded to stay alert and check forecasts before stepping out on the slopes.
There is also a 'considerable' risk of avalanches across the Alps in Switzerland, including in the Davos region where the world leaders, including Britain's Theresa May, are meeting for the annual World Economic Forum.
A warning has been issued by research institute SLF, which works on behalf of the Government's department for forest, snow and landscape.
Italy avalanche: Devastating pictures after deadly avalanche
Thu, January 19, 2017
A devastating avalanche has hit a hotel in Italy, leaving up to 30 missing.
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An avalanche buried the Hotel Rigopiano in Abruzzo.
A hotel in Italy has been completely buried by the snow
Map of avalanche risks in Switzerland
The Switzerland alert map showing Davos is on 'considerable' risk of avalanche
Guests sent Whatsapp messages saying they were “dying in the cold”
A map showed the area of Davos was on 'considerable' alert due to the threat of snow drifts and fresh snow lying on top os "weakly bounded old snowpack".
The warning adds: "Single winter sport participants can release avalanches. "In particular on steep shady slopes they can reach dangerously large size. "Remote triggering is possible. The avalanche prone locations are difficult to recognise.
"Whumpfing sounds and the formation of shooting cracks when stepping on the snowpack can indicate the danger.
"Snow sport activities outside marked and open pistes call for experience in the assessment of avalanche danger and caution."
The Italian authorities have issued avalanche alerts for various places across the country
The Italian government have warned against any hiking activities in the Abruzzo region due to its high risk.
The country is on high alert after an avalanche struck Hotel Rigopiano in Pescara, on the Gran Sasso resort in central Italy last night.
Guests sent Whatsapp messages saying they were “dying in the cold” as rescuers rushed to the scene on cross-country skies.
The avalanche was caused by a series of 80 earthquakes and aftershocks yesterday, some of which were felt in Rome, shutting down the capital’s Metro.
Helicopters have been used in the rescue operation
The Regional Civil Protection and the Control Unit for Environmental and Forest Protection have forecast the warnings saying the Abruzzo Apennines are at particular high risk of avalanches.
The warning states the bad weather has resulted in the accumulation of new snow on previously compacted snow layers, which increases the instability of mountain slopes.
The level of danger is strong in the Abruzzo region with the risk being higher in areas where the forest is sparse or absent.
Horrifying images from inside the hotel show snow cascading down the stairs and a wall of snow breaking through part of the collapsed building.